You want your kids to get out there, exercise, and start an active lifestyle, even at a young age. But how do you get your kids started? Signing them up for some sort of recreational activity is a great place to start, but which one should you choose? Every child is different, so it’s important to spend some time exploring and considering different physical activities and how they might fit your child’s personality, preferences, and abilities. Below, we share some tips to help you find the right physical activity to keep your child moving and engaged.
1. Consider their age.
First of all, make sure you are suggesting age-appropriate activities for your child. Younger, preschool-age children often get more out of less-structured activities, such as playground playgroups and tumbling sessions. Although there are organized sports leagues for children who are three or four, consider waiting until your kids are a little older to start them in group sports. They will get more out of the coaching and structured practice sessions once they’re in elementary school.
2. Pay attention to what they watch on TV.
Pay attention to what activities your child seems to show an interest in when they’re watching television, playing video games, or otherwise engaging with media. If they always seem to be watching martial arts-related movies, perhaps they would enjoy karate classes. If they are always watching dance competitions, a ballet class might be a smart suggestion.
3. Keep safety in mind.
Some sports inherently come with more physical risks. For example, football and horseback riding are more dangerous than tennis or golf. This is not to say that your child should not become a football player or equestrian, but do keep safety in mind if they seem drawn to this type of physical activity. Talk to their pediatrician to ensure your child is healthy enough to participate in whatever activities they’re interested in. If your child has a history of weak ligaments, for example, football may not be the sport for them.
4. Try different activities each weekend.
If your child does not know what activities they would like to participate in, consider trying a different activity every weekend for a few months. Take them to a karate lesson one weekend, a soccer session the next, and maybe a horseback riding lesson the week after that. Along the way, they’re likely to find something they feel drawn to and can become more involved with over the coming years.
5. Always observe and evaluate.
Once your child is participating in a specific activity, pay attention to their performance and their attitude towards the activity. If you feel your child may be losing interest, ask them if they want to continue. It’s perfectly okay to allow them to quit and pursue a different sport; this is about keeping fit and having fun.
If you take the time to find a physical activity your child actually enjoys and excels at, they’re more likely to stay active for life. A active body is a fit body, and fitness is an important component of health.
To learn more about age-appropriate activities refer to Choosing age-appropriate activities for your kids.